MEDI-CAL FRAUD: Davis Signs Bill Strengthening Investigations
Capping an 18-month effort to combat Medi-Cal fraud, Gov. Gray Davis (D) yesterday signed legislation that expands the state's power to fight fraud and imposes harsher penalties on those who cheat the system, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports. AB 1098, sponsored by Assembly member Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles), strengthens the state's role in fighting Medi-Cal fraud by allowing it to convene a grand jury to investigate potential cases and confiscate assets of offenders. The bill also tightens state controls on Medi-Cal documentation and mandates that providers give "detailed information" to assist investigators in identifying abuses. The legislation also increases prison sentences for offenders to five years and allows fraud cases to be prosecuted under organized crime laws. Davis said, "With the Romero bill, we will have the upper hand and we will put these scam artists out of business and behind bars where they belong." California has earmarked $21 million to fight Medi-Cal fraud this year (Cavanaugh, 9/6). Davis added, "In the war on Medi-Cal fraud, this bill will ensure that the good guys have all the weapons they need to put the bad guys away for good" (Office of the Governor release, 9/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.